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Stringendo vs. Accelerando: What's the Difference?

By Janet White & Harlon Moss || Updated on May 21, 2024
Stringendo increases tempo and intensity in music, creating urgency, while accelerando gradually speeds up the tempo.

Key Differences

Stringendo, an Italian musical term, indicates an increase in both tempo and intensity, creating a sense of urgency and excitement. It often suggests a dramatic build-up in the music. On the other hand, accelerando also indicates an increase in tempo, but it does so gradually and evenly, focusing solely on speeding up the rhythm without necessarily adding intensity.
Stringendo is commonly used in passages that require a sudden and intense rush, often leading to a climax or significant musical moment. In contrast, accelerando is used to smooth transitions between different tempos, ensuring a natural and steady increase in speed without abrupt changes.
In performance, stringendo demands immediate attention from the musicians to quickly adjust their playing, emphasizing the heightened urgency. Whereas, accelerando allows for a more controlled and measured approach, giving musicians time to gradually adapt to the increasing tempo.
Stringendo is typically applied to shorter musical phrases or sections, injecting a burst of energy. Conversely, accelerando can span longer passages, subtly shifting the tempo to prepare for new musical sections or themes.

Comparison Chart


Increase in tempo and intensity
Gradual increase in tempo


Sudden and urgent
Smooth and steady

Common Usage

Short musical phrases or sections
Longer musical passages

Performance Demand

Immediate adjustment by musicians
Controlled, gradual adjustment

Typical Effect

Creates a dramatic, urgent build-up
Ensures a natural tempo transition

Stringendo and Accelerando Definitions


Stringendo signals to play faster and more intensely.
The music suddenly shifted stringendo, adding excitement to the piece.


Accelerando instructs to gradually speed up the tempo.
The pianist began the accelerando, leading to a lively tempo.


Often used for a rapid tempo rise.
The composer used stringendo to build tension before the final note.


It allows for a controlled increase in tempo.
The music flowed seamlessly with the accelerando section.


Both tempo and energy level increase simultaneously.
The string section played with a marked stringendo, driving the piece forward.


The tempo gradually increases over time.
The orchestra followed the accelerando, slowly gaining speed.


Indicates a pressing change in tempo.
The violinist executed the stringendo flawlessly, enhancing the drama.


Used to transition between different tempos.
The conductor's baton guided the accelerando, merging the tempos perfectly.


It implies a quick acceleration within a short time.
The conductor indicated stringendo as they approached the climax.


Gradually accelerating or quickening in time. Used chiefly as a direction.


Played with an accelerating tempo. Used chiefly as a direction.


An accelerando passage or movement.


(music) A passage in music to be played gradually faster; a section of music with in which the tempo slowly increases.


(music) A tempo mark directing that a passage is to be played at an increasing speed.


(music) Played with gradually increasing tempo.


(music) A passage having this mark.


Urging or hastening the time, as to a climax.


(by extension) Accelerating or exponential advancement or development (of a thing).


(music) With a gradual increase in speed.


Gradually accelerating the movement.


A gradually increasing tempo of music;
My ear will not accept such violent accelerandos


Gradually increasing in tempo


With increasing speed;
Here you must play accelerando


It indicates a smooth and continuous tempo increase.
The passage was marked accelerando, requiring careful tempo management.


How does stringendo affect a musical piece?

It adds urgency and excitement by rapidly increasing tempo and intensity.

How does accelerando affect a musical piece?

It ensures a smooth and steady increase in tempo, creating a natural progression.

In what contexts is stringendo typically used?

It is used in shorter passages to inject a burst of energy or lead to a climax.

Does stringendo require immediate adjustment from musicians?

Yes, it requires quick adaptation to the sudden tempo change.

Can stringendo be used to prepare for a dramatic moment in music?

Yes, it often leads to a significant or climactic moment.

What does accelerando mean?

Accelerando means gradually speeding up the tempo.

Can stringendo be indicated by a conductor?

Yes, conductors often signal stringendo for a sudden tempo increase.

Can accelerando be indicated by a conductor?

Yes, conductors signal accelerando to gradually increase the tempo.

What does stringendo mean?

Stringendo means increasing both the tempo and intensity in music.

In what contexts is accelerando typically used?

It is used over longer passages to transition smoothly between tempos.

Does accelerando require gradual adjustment from musicians?

Yes, it allows musicians to gradually adjust to the increasing tempo.

Is stringendo more intense than accelerando?

Yes, it increases both tempo and intensity more rapidly.

Can accelerando span an entire musical passage?

Yes, it can cover longer sections to transition tempos gradually.

Is accelerando used for smooth transitions?

Yes, it ensures smooth tempo transitions.

Does accelerando affect only the tempo?

Primarily, yes, it focuses on gradually increasing the tempo.

Is stringendo used for dramatic build-ups?

Yes, it creates dramatic and urgent build-ups.

Is accelerando common in symphonic music?

Yes, it is frequently used in symphonic and orchestral music for smooth tempo changes.

Is accelerando more controlled than stringendo?

Yes, it provides a controlled and steady increase in tempo.

Does stringendo affect the energy level of the music?

Yes, it raises both the tempo and energy level.

Is stringendo common in fast-paced music?

Yes, it's often found in fast-paced or dynamic sections.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Co-written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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